INGLEWOOD, Calif. (July 26, 2012)—Rail Trip, the upset winner of the 2009 Hollywood Gold Cup a year before he was second as the favorite in the Grade I, will seek his first victory as a 7-year-old in the $200,000 San Diego Handicap Saturday at Del Mar.
A Grade II at 1 1/16 miles over Polytrack, the San Diego is the eighth of 10 races. Post time Saturday is 2 p.m. Track gates at Betfair Hollywood Park will open at 10 a.m. for simulcasts.
Owned by Samantha Siegel’s Jay Em Ess Stable and trained by Ron Ellis, Rail Trip has been fourth and second in his first two races of 2012. The gelded son of Jump Start was fourth behind Roman Threat, stablemate Centralinteligence and eventual Triple Bend Handicap winner Camp Victory in the Grade III Los Angeles Handicap May 28 at Betfair Hollywood Park.
The Kentucky bred followed with a second place finish in an optional claimer – at the San Diego distance – June 28. Rail Trip has won eight of 19 and earned $1,133,790.
The field also includes the well bred Take Control, an undefeated son of A.P. Indy and the multiple stakes winning mare Azeri who won an optional claimer June 30 at Betfair Hollywood Park after 30 months on the sidelines. Perfect in two races, Take Control is trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert for owner Kaleem Shah.
Other contenders include Kettle Corn, who was third behind Game On Dude and Richard’s Kid in the Gold Cup July 7, defending champion – and 2008 Swaps Stakes winner – Tres Borrachos, and the improving California bred John Scott.
The San Diego Handicap is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In’’ race. The BC nominated winner will receive an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, which will be run Nov. 3 at Santa Anita.
From inside out, the field for the San Diego Handicap: Kettle Corn, Garrett Gomez rides, 117 pounds; Mobilized, Corey Nakatani, 115; Tres Borrachos, Mike Smith, 116; John Scott, Victor Espinoza, 114; Take Control, Rafael Bejarano, 113; Prayer for Relief, Joe Talamo, 119 and Rail Trip, Jose Valdivia, Jr., 118.
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